Improved PH internet unlikely to be seen soon

18
Ben D. Kritz

Ben D. Kritz

First of two parts

Advertisements

IN what was probably one of his last significant acts before leaving office, President BS Aquino 3rd on Monday signed into law Republic Act 10844 creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The long-awaited move was nearly overshadowed, however, by comments made by presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend, when he leveled a threat at the country’s two existing telecom giants PLDT and Globe: “You improve the service or I will open the Philippines [to outside competition]. All can come in.”

Duterte’s warning was welcomed by virtually everyone who is forced to contend with internet service that is said to be the second-slowest in Asia – only slightly faster than war-torn Afghanistan – and costs nearly three-and-a-half times the global average ($18.19 per Mbps versus $5.21 per Mbps globally, according to web metrics provider Ookla). The comments were undoubtedly also taken as a hopeful sign by public and private sector advocates who have been lobbying for the DICT for years, as the implementation of the new law will fall entirely to Duterte.

For their part, both PLDT and Globe were quick to publicly express their willingness to cooperate with the new president’s demand, and suggested they have been pursuing the same aim all along.

“We are aligned with government efforts to improve telecom services,” a spokesman for PLDT said, adding that the company “is in fact in the middle of a major 3-year network investment program that is in process of significantly improving telecom and Internet services for PLDT and Smart customers, and will support national development initiatives.”

Globe, meanwhile, said that it “supports” calls for faster internet. In a statement, Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto pointed out that, “In fact, Globe is at the forefront of building the much needed infrastructure nationwide to make Internet services easily accessible either through mobile or wireline. This is supported by heavy investments over the years to make sure the Philippines is at par with other countries in terms of technology use.”

But exactly how far the DICT and the existing telecoms’ new-found spirit of cooperation with the next administration’s stated aim to make fast and affordable internet service a matter of public policy will go and how fast it will get there remains to be seen. Wanting to improve slow and expensive services is easy; actually making substantial changes is likely to be much more difficult.

Limited DICT
The mandate of the DICT under RA 10844 is “to formulate and implement policies that will promote the development and use of ICT, establish a free internet service that can be accessed in government offices and public areas, and protect the rights and welfare of consumers and business users to privacy, security and confidentiality in matters relating to ICT.” The law separates all communications-related offices and functions from the Department of Transportation and Communications – which will now simply be the “Department of Transportation” – and places them under the DICT, including the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), National Computer Center (NCC), National Computer Institute (NCI), Telecommunications Office (TELOF), and the National Telecommunications Training Institute (NTTI).

Even though DICT is the overall policy-setting body and is the administrative parent agency of the NTC, it is the latter that is the actual regulator of the industry; it operates independently in terms of regulatory and quasi-judicial functions, and its decisions may only be appealed to the Supreme Court. The NTC regulates the telecoms in terms of their network coverage and functions, but under the NTC guidelines, internet services are considered value-added services, which are unregulated.

Thus in order for the DICT to be effective in setting policy related to internet services, it requires an implementation and regulatory component. Under present circumstances it does not clearly have that, and according to some experts, may require additional legislation or at least amendment of RA 10844.

ben.kritz@manilatimes.net

Share.
loading...
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

18 Comments

  1. The deal will further improve Internet and data services for the public which is NEVER a bad thing!

  2. Sarah Ganto on

    This deal will accelerate the overall improvement of fast and stable internet access for the millions of internet subscribers in the Philippines. Another step towards globalization! ?

  3. The deal will further improve Internet and data services for the public, and speed up the country’s overall development efforts. BIG STEP towards faster internet. YAY. FINALLY!

  4. I think this deal will actually benefit consumers because the acquisition of these assets by our telcos will allow the overall improvement of their services.

  5. This deal would open greater opportunities for the betterment of the telco providers in the Philippines.

  6. I dont see anything wrong with the deal. If it will enable Globe and PLDT to have the capacity to give better service to their customers, then all the better for us. Let’s not jump to conclusions and assume a conspiracy is looming in the air. Can’t wait for faster internet!

  7. Pete Gabriel on

    The telecom companies in the Philippines have been ripping off the Filipinos for a long time now. The government unfortunately are ignorant, they do not understand the complexity of the issues so they are just letting this fleecing of the people to go on.

  8. Why are we not opening our economic borders? Are we afraid that better tech products and services will get in? Are we afraid that our products will not be relevant in the open market? Come to think of it. We are afraid that our irrelevant products will not be relevant in the open market.

  9. well ganyan yang PLDT and Globe, they now see a threat to their usual business of fooling and misleading customer, so they issue statement that they are doing/pursuing this and that all along hoodwindling us to make papel to our new president…kasi natakot sa threat ni Pres…they should get what they deserve when other foreign players would finally come in …I hope Digong make his threat a final blow to get rid of this abusers who are fooling us all…

  10. Tony Sumabat on

    Make the internet open to every service provider be it foreign or local company. Competition will improve service, and if you believe PLDT and Glove about their services then, start selling snow to an Eskimo or the Pope must be Catholic.

  11. Had Globe for a year, worst service ever. Every tme it would rain, boop, Internet service would go down. Turned to PLDT, have had it for Five years, service is no better and the service reps will lie to serve their own laziness. Example : in the Five years having PLDT have to call them at least 12 to 15 times a year to fix something. for over three weeks tried to get service out to our home to fix our Internet. Service rep they (PLDT) sent just marked off that he had serviced our home, when in fact he did not. So, yes they will lie. Worst downloading service ever, even at paying higher peso’s for faster speed. The Downloading stays the same. I have to check everyday to make sure PLDT is giving me the speed I am paying for, because for a whole year I was paying for Five mbp and only getting 3 mbp. When I confronted PLDT about it. All they said is I could not get my Money back, for they had Upgraded me for free to Five mbp from 3 mbp. I asked well if that is the case why is the price I was paying 999 peso per month Now up to 2600 plus peso per month ? They could not answer that question. I say Open the Market let some real internet providers into the Philippines that can do a heck of a lot better that these Two lying Companies..My Opinion.

  12. Had Globe for a year, worst service ever. Every tme it would rain, boop, Internet service would go down. Turned to PLDT, have had it for Five years, service is no better and the service reps will lie to serve their own laziness. Example : in the Five years having PLDT have to call them at least 12 to 15 times a year to fix something. for over three weeks tried to get service out to our home to fix our Internet. Service rep they (PLDT) sent just marked off that he had serviced our home, when in fact he did not. So, yes they will lie. Worst downloading service ever, even at paying higher peso’s for faster speed. The Downloading stays the same. I have to check everyday to make sure PLDT is giving me the speed I am paying for, because for a whole year I was paying for Five mbp and only getting 3 mbp. When I confronted PLDT about it. All they said is I could not get my Money back, for they had Upgraded me for free to Five mbp from 3 mbp. I asked well if that is the case why is the price I was paying 999 peso per month Now up to 2600 plus peso per month ? They could not answer that question. I say Open the Market let some real internet providers into the Philippines that can do a heck of a lot better that these Two lying Companies..My Opinion.

  13. I hope Duterte will open it to Foreign Companies. I’m sick and tired of their Slow connection not to mention this internet capping. Filipinos doesn’t deserve this poor quality service.

  14. The internet service in the Philippines is a disgrace and Globe /PLDT strangle hold on the sector , abuse of customer and blatant overcharging/ price collusion is plain and simple thievery . Open up the sector to foreign competition NOW .

  15. The Philippines has been getting the DIC from these internet companies for years.
    When they increase the speed they then limit the amount a customer can use it with their data caps. Terrible customer service, lies, predatory contracts, high rates and slow data capped internet.

    Lets now all believe PLDT and Globe suddenly want to improve telecom service ?
    They had their chance, open up the Philippines to foreign internet companies and let those two companies compete for once for the business of their customers.

    Their customer service, rates, data caps and speed will improve like magic or they will die the quick death they deserve.

    • ako si juan on

      true, they had their chance. open up the market to foreign investment to quickly improve telcom services now rather than wait for their promise of 3 years BS…

    • They have opened up the entire Philippines for sale to foreign companies and governments they just lie about who owns what.

      PLDT is 76% foreign owned already

      Globelines is 64% foreign owned.

      These two foreign owned companies keep out competition by controlling the government agencies who are supposed to regulate the industry.

      It’s all a lie, These companies pretending that they are Filipino owned.